My sadness is not for public consumption.
It is for the eyes of the backs of my closed blinds.
The hot downpour of my shower.
The note of the song that steals my breath.
For everyone else, my eyes will tremble under the effort of keeping that tear in.
It can be a little delicious to wallow in it when no one's looking. Like when you watch a tragic movie and the tears feel so good, so cleansing, you almost don't want them to stop.
But the second my sadness is witnessed? I panic.
When I was younger, it was like I couldn't have an emotion without a witness. I would wear black on my sad days, call my friends to sob, and still find the expression to write over indulgent poetry plum full of bad metaphors for what I saw as complicated sadness.
Sometimes you need to ricochet.
So I have bounced in the opposite direction. I hold my sadness close, like a necklace cold against my chest beneath several layers of clothing.
But it still sneaks out sometimes (like, say, when overwhelmed by circumstantial bad luck).
And if someone catches me, it is then that I start to pathologize my tears.
Which, of course, in true cyclical fashion, makes them fall a little harder.
I worry that my emotions will overwhelm people, that they think me petty, that I am deceiving the false image of competence I try to project.
I especially feel as though I have betrayed him. As though he fell for me with bare feet and a smile under the glowing July sun, and now I'm giving him gloomy Januaries.
Like somehow these tears have broken a promise and proven me for a liar.
We sat in the bathtub last night for nearly two hours, pondering premonitions and camera angles for the movies of our life. As I dripped water from my fingers to the back of my hands, I told him how exhilarating it was when he told me it had lately occurred to him that he could only be happy with me because am I little saner than others, for this made me feel that becoming a little overwhelmed with life did not make me a failure in his eyes. I told him how funny it was that people actually found my writing uplifting. I recounted a comment that really hit a cord with me: "I like reading your blog because you bring an optimism to your life that is sadly lacking in my own and it gives me hope that one day I can feel the same way."* And how I thought that maybe I was more of an optimist than I give myself credit for in those moments of weakness.
He told me that I should use this bath as an opportunity for a shift. Before could be the days of shame over succumbing to those universal dips in life. After could be the realization that, most days, I do radiate and sparkle at least a little.
*Thank you, Rexy. This really touched me. I hope you can find an outlet as good as this one has been to me to help you find your way.